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Cabin Fever is an Americanmarker horror film about a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and begin to fall victim to a flesh-eating virus. The film was the directing debut of filmmaker Eli Roth, who co-wrote the film with Randy Pearlstein. The inspiration for the film's story came from a real life experience during a trip to Icelandmarker when Roth developed a skin virus.

Roth wanted the style of his film to make a departure from many modern horror films that had been released in recent years. One modern horror film, The Blair Witch Project, did inspire Roth to use the internet to help promote the film during its production and help gain interest towards its distribution. The film itself, however, draws from many of Roth's favorite horror films, such as The Evil Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and The Last House on the Left. Roth was tired of what he called the "watered down PG-13" horror films of the studios, and refused to compromise on the violence or nudity, saying they were essential ingredients to an '80s-style horror film.


5 college friends - Jeff, Marcy, Paul, Karen, and Bert - rent a cabin in the woods and the usual debauchery begins. But after a nasty confrontation by a local, one of them starts to get sick. Then it's up to rest to save themselves before the sickness catches them as well, and some will do just about anything to keep the disease from spreading.


Actor Role
Rider Strong Paul
Jordan Ladd Karen
James DeBello Bert
Cerina Vincent Marcy
Joey Kern Jeff
Arie Verveen Henry the Hermit
Robert Harris Old Man Cadwell
Hal Courtney Tommy
Matthew Helms Dennis
Richard Boone Fenster
Tim Parati Andy
Brandon Johnson Ray Shawn
Giuseppe Andrews Deputy Winston Olsen
Eli Roth Justin aka Grim
Adam Roth Bald headed man in story
Matt Schwarz The Bad Influence

In the movie, a man in a rabbit suit randomly appears in the hospital scene. The credits state that "We will never tell" played the rabbit man, though there is speculation among fans that it may have been Eli Roth.


Eli Roth co-wrote Cabin Fever with friend and former NYUmarker roommate Randy Pearlstein in 1995 while Roth was working as a production assistant for Howard Stern's Private Parts. Early attempts to sell the script were unsuccessful because studios felt that the horror genre had become unprofitable. In 1996, the film Scream was released to great success, leading studios to once again become interested in horror properties. However, Roth still could not sell his script, as studios told him that it should be more like Scream. Many potential financiers also found the film's content to be unsettling, including not only the gore, but the use of the word "nigger" early in the film. The script was not produced until the fall of 2001, when Roth and Lauren Moews raised $50,000 to begin production with producers Evan Astrowsky and Sam Froelich. The rest of the money was raised during the shooting.


The film was shot on a small budget of $1.5 million. The original killer dog was so old and tired that all of its scenes had to be re-shot with a new dog. With no time or money to find a replacement, the producers cast a real police attack dog that was so vicious and unpredictable that no actors could appear with it on camera.Composer Angelo Badalamenti agreed to compose some musical themes for the film out of enthusiasm for the material. However, the bulk of the film's score was composed by Nathan Barr who has gone on to score both of Eli's Hostel films.Actor Michael Rosenbaum was originally cast to play Justin aka Grim, but when Rosenbaum wasn't able to commit to the shoot due to another production, Smallville that was taking off, the role was filled by the director himself.


Grossing $33,553,394 at the box office internationally, the film was marked #3 and the highest grossing film released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment in 2003. Critical response to the film was positive, with a rave review from the New York Times and Film Comment magazine. Rotten Tomatoes, which compiles reviews from a wide range of critics, gives the film a score of 63%.

Many directors such as Peter Jackson loved the film, and gave him a quote to use in all the advertising. Quentin Tarantino cited Cabin Fever as the best new American film in his Kill Bill Vol. 2 interview for Premiere magazine, and called Eli Roth "The Future of Horror." The film was also #28 on Bravo TV's "30 Even Scarier Movie Moments" Roger Ebert, however, panned the film, stating "The movie adds up to a few good ideas and a lot of bad ones, wandering around in search of an organizing principle."
 The film received a "Two Thumbs Down" rating on the television show Ebert & Roeper. Richard Roeper called it an "ugly gorefest" and said "Cabin Fever is a particularly disgusting and brainless version of this all-too-familiar horror film". Roger Ebert said "Director Eli Roth is trying do about four things at once, to make a horror film, a comedy, a satire and a political parable about infectious diseases and none of them work" and he commented by saying "this movie is a mess". They ended the review with Richard Roeper suggesting to viewers "don't bring snacks, if you insist on going to this movie, don't bring any food into the theater because you'll be losing it on your way out." "Cabin Fever" over time has grown to be a cult classic, and Roth was nominated for a several Saturn Awards, and an Empire Award for Best Newcomer. "Cabin Fever" was voted Best Horror Film by readers of the website in 2004.


Both Rider Strong and Giuseppe Andrews will be returning in Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, which is being directed by Ti West (The Roost, The House Of The Devil) from a screenplay written by Joshua Malkin, story conceived by Randy Pearlstein and Ti West. Rider Strong will reprise his role as Paul and Giuseppe Andrews will reprise his role as Deputy Winston. Larry Fessenden and Alexi Wasser also star.


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